Niki Randell’s heart recently went out to some Springdale students waiting outside in the pouring rain for the bus to school.
“Even something to keep them out of the cold in the winter time too, but how about to keep them safe,” she said. “Some of these bus stops are right by the road, and traffic can sometimes be crazy — flying by.”
Most people would share that sympathy, perhaps remembering how uncomfortable it is to wear wet clothes in school.
The Springdale mother decided to do something about it.
Her first call was to the town, she said, asking why students don’t have bus shelters. She is originally from Robert’s Arm, which has bus shelters. Many other small communities around the province, as well as some larger ones, also have them. Moving to a larger town like Springdale, she figured those amenities would be there.
Randell said a town staffer passed the responsibility on to the school district. When she contacted the school district, a representative informed her it was the town’s obligation.
Randell, whose children do not even avail of the school bus, was not content to flash the sympathy card and walk away.
She went back to the town and has set the wheels in motion to find a way to improve the lives of students who take the bus in Springdale.
She also turned to social media, posting a video of students standing in the pouring rain — which has been viewed more than 6,000 times. While she couldn’t believe the negative comments she received from some people, the majority were overwhelmingly in support of helping.
“This is kids we are talking about,” she said. “I figured everybody would want this for kids — something to benefit them, keep them safe, dry and warm.”
She started a petition and has collected neatly 300 signatures. The plan is to bring that to council to show the Town of Springdale residents support an initiative to bring bus shelters to their streets.
She is hoping to reach 500 signatures, and is also gathering up support in terms of people willing to go the town hall to present their case.
“I am hoping I will have a lot of people behind me,” she said. “There is a lot of people saying they are behind me and … are going to help.”
Whether it’s through residents fundraising or government financial backing, Randell is now convinced bus shelters have to be erected around Springdale.
She said they are willing to work with the town to bring bus shelters to fruition, and make those long days of discomfort in the classroom a thing of the past.